The Ruby Rod
Oak's Story of the Fall of the Colossus
The old green tome has the name Gunter “Oak” Crowley, with a tree below it emblazoned on the cover. Like many of the other books in the library, most of its pages contain only a letter or two. A section about three quarters of the way in, word begin to appear on the pages as normal. Turning back to find the first page of the legible section, you read,
“This would be the day the colossus fell. Master Birch gave his blessings upon these humans, these Knights of Pyre, who would do the impossible and kill such a extraordinary creature. Master Birch allowed the knights, much to the chagrin of my brothers, to fight the giant here in our holiest of places within the city walls, the hanging gardens. Even now I marvel at their beauty, to think nature and civilization could coexist in such harmony. Everyone has been evacuated, save for myself and a few others who stand by to help extricate the knights should they fall. I hope it will not come to that. We are also to chronicle the occasion on request of the knight known as Alatar, the Red Rider, a young wizard who’s powers far exceed those of one his age.
Brother Elm tells me of his learning with the Knights. He has heard that this is not the Knights first attempt, that in fact they’ve been trying and studying for months. They are certain that this will be the time, that they’ve forged a weapon specifically for the task. I agree with Brother Elm that it seems odd for Master Birch to help these knights. The colossus has done us no harm.
The twin knights, brothers Helmut and Franz Vonlichten, holy knights of Saint Cuthbert, tell my brothers and I how faith is the key to destroying the colosuss. That in their struggle, none must be deceived by the magnificence of the creature, for his divine nature has been corrupted by the pyramid. Corruption does run deep in this place. I wonder how long these knights have been exposed to it. Ah but it is not my place to question. I have faith in the all mother and Master Birch who speaks for her, and through that, I have faith in these men.
As the twin knights move on, Sister Rosewood whispers how Alatar and the knight called Valandil would have different to say, that it was their studies of the colossus that would be the key to destroying it. She comments on how through their previous attempts they were able to learn of the workings of the colossus and thus help the fifth knight, Kenway, forge a weapon to destroy it. Sister Rosewood seams saddened that she could not see Kenway before the ambush today. She seems smitten with him. I do not mention that he is 5 stories up waiting for Valandil to lure the colossus into the gardens.
Our whole being here hinges on the belief that the colossus wishes to preserve the city, and thus will not simply bring the gardens down around us. The thought of so much stone falling down around us frightens me to no end, and how do they expect to fell the giant without causing damage to the surrounding area? I have voiced my concern with Master Birch, but he assures me that all will be well. Brother Elm taunts me with stories of people trapped in pockets of debris, not crushed, but injured and trapped.
Brother Elm sees my uneasiness and changes subjects. He tells me that the knights speak of 6 sigils on the colosuss, weak points. Invisible except when exposed to the right magics. When all six are struck, the colossus will lie dormant, but not dead. The knights will rush into an opening on the head of the giant then slay it from the inside, after which a 7th and final sigil will form and when then they will plunge the sword they’ve made into it. I ask Brother Elm how they could possibly know all this. He reminds me that the knights have tried fought the giant on previous occasions. I am still left skeptical.
The White One has arrived. The humans presence here I can tolerate, after all it was their kind and others like them that built this place, but the white dragon… Even now he flaunts his power, proclaiming to all his self worth, apologizing offhandedly of his tardiness, that he wouldn’t miss this for the world, that this is the world.
There is a commotion, the giant is on the move. He is still some minutes away. Everyone moves into position. The wizard Altar creates an illusion over a large group of potted plants they’ve gathered, the purpose of such is beyond my understanding, all apart of a greater plan I’m sure. The wizard says something to The White, the dragon scoffs, laughs, and walks with the wizard to a sheltered area. The only ones out in the open now are the twin knights.
I can hear the colossus now, feel it coming. Dust tumbles down from high, the hanging plants begin to sway from the tremors, as if they too were frightened. The crashing is so close now, it has to be right on top of us. It stops. I lean my head out to see the opening in the gardens better. The colossus has halted just outside the gardens, as if it were deciding how best to proceed. Valadil fires an arrow at the giant, this only seems to force it into a decision. The colossus begins to move again, its foot falls carefully avoiding crushing anything. Each footfall someone manages to not crack the stone it treads upon. I have never been so close before. His blackend body looks much like the pyramid, shines with a simular light, but at this distance one can see the flaws, marks from previous battles perhaps. The stories I’ve heard from the others said the pyramid is made of polished black stones bricks that shine with a luster all their own. The colossus however does not shine like this, nor does he have any of the gold plating like the pyramid. You can almost make out where gold may have been, fallen off or stolen in a time far before my own.
Movement just behind the colossus. The knight Kenway leaps from the fifth floor of the gardens onto the leg of the colossus, he skims across the surface, sparks flying from his hand, then comes to an abrupt stop. The colossus begins to take note when the twin knights begin to yell something in a langugae I cannot understand. A ray of light shines down upon them, the colossus stares at the two as Kenway begin to climb. A beam of light shoots out of the twin knights, striking the colossus in the chest, a small spot glows red, if that hurt the giant it showed no signs. It lifts its right foot, it’s going to crush the knights! Why aren’t they moving? The stone ground around the knights suddenly turns to plants. I had forgotten Altar’s illusion. The colossus’ foot halts, and one of the knights flies up to the foot, I can’t tell if he jumped on his own accord, or possibly his brother threw him, but with one fluid motion he has plunged his blade into the bottom of the colossus’ foot. His sword shines, and a sigil apears on the colossus foot of the same color, then quickly dims. The knight leaps away as a gout of black fluid sprays forth from the colossus. It howls. Such a mornful sound. And then again as another gout of fluid sprays from the back of it’s other leg.
The collosus drops to a knee, crushing plants and sending stone tiles flying, I myself about lose my footing. The wizard and dragon come out of hiding, sending a volley of magic and ice at the collosus. Shining webs and frost latch the colossus to the ground, they’ll have to move faster, there’s no way they can restrain something so massive. The colossus looks around, first at the tiny creatures assaulting it, then at the destruction to the gardens it’s caused. It’s eyes glow red and a light shoots forth, hitting the dragon. The dragon, who’s tail and back are blackened, enters a rage and latches onto the colossus leg, tearing off scale like stones. Valandil does something to calm the dragon, then mounts it and together they run about, the dragon breathing ice and the knight firing volleys of arrows at the colossus. One arrow seems to catch it’s eye, and with a howl the red glow dims.
I ask Brother Elm, who’ve I’ve completely forgotten exists up to this point, why the dragon is running about on the ground, why don’t they take to the air, surely they have the advantage in the skies. He tells me how the colossus has magics about him that prevent flight, that each sigil pierced allows the group to fly higher and higher, which is why bringing the colossus into a confined space was so important.
Another howl from the collosus, I can’t see the source, but a stream of the things black blood drips from his back. It begins to stand, motes of light shine from it’s back and leg. It grabs the dragon with it’s left hand, light begins to shine, I’ve heard of this before, any second now the dragon will be vaporized in a flash of white light. A howl and geyser of black sprays from the back of the colossus’ hand. Valandil must of have slipped out of the colossus’ grasp and onto the back of his hand somehow.
But wait, I thought only the one sword could kill the colossus. I ask Brother Elm. He says I am correct, that the sword is the only thing that will kill it or show where the sigils are, but its not the only thing that can be used to destroy the sigils… I look back to the battle, that means they have memorized the locations of the sigils.
The dragon is let loose, and Valandil leaps onto its back, a woman shrieks, I see Kenway falling from the colossus’ back, lifelessly he clatters to the ground. I’m confused, the colossus did nothing. The twin knights rush to him, the dragon circles the colossus in the air, level with it’s chest, doing it’s best to distract. A beam of light and Kenway lifts to the air and is alive again. One of the twin knights summons angelic wings and carries his brother and Kenway back up to the collosus. They land on the right shoulder of the collosus and the wings dissipate. The colossus, still preoccupied with the dragon and Valandil, does not notice.
Another trail of lights apear on the colossus, is this what attacked Kenway? One of the twin knights shields Kenway from the light, allowing him to plunge his blade into the colossus. Another howl, and again I shudder at the things pain. Its begins to try and grab it’s shoulder but stops. I look up, the tell tale geyser is spraying from it’s forhead, the sigil’s light burning out, but this time there is no howl and…
Catastrophe! The colossus has fallen, it’s impact shaking loose a section of the garden’s structure, Rosewood is in that section. Screams can be heard as debris falls and then… stops midair. Alatar i has used his magic to stop the debris from falling, the others are safe now.
A hiss is heard, I look back to the colossus, a steam is rising from it’s cracks in it’s battered body. A flash of light, I avert my eyes. Heavenly spirits apear, hundreds of them, they circle the fallen giant ready to protect him, the knights did not say this would happen. The White One snatches up the wizard and together they cut a swathe through the angels, their death cries chilling me to the bone, as if with each one a piece of my own soul is killed. I watch just long enough to see one of the twin knights, along with Kenway and Alatar rush into an opening on the giant’s head. I avert my eyes, I cannot bare to watch the angels fall any longer.
I hold onto Sister Rosewood who also can no longer look. Brother Elm forces himself to watch, says that we must have faith. An eternity passes before Brother Elm implores us to look, that it’s almost over, a large sigil has appeared on the chest of the colossus. The remaining twin knight plunges his sword into it and a flash of light like a million suns blinds me. Moments pass before my vision returns. The knight is gone, his comrades look around, Kenway helps walk Alatar out of the colossus, but without the other twin knight.
The sky is clear, the colossus does not stir, not an angel in sight. We walk up to the knights as the wizard hands something to the dragon and it flies off. I ask what happened to Franz and Helmut. They tell me they knew they would have to sacrifice themselves for this to work, and are gone now. All that remains of them is the sword. Brother Elm takes it and declares to keep it safe, that a shrine will be built to honor the Vonlichten brothers. I agree and suggest that there be no better place than below the hanging gardens.
The remaining knights begin to leave, I ask them what they will do next. Kenway points to sky, a beam of light is shooting from the ground to the apex of the pyramid walls. I don’t need to exit the gardens to know that light it coming from the black pyramid. Kenway says that they are going to destroy the prison barriers, and we will be free of this place, that the city will be back in the material realm soon.”
The remaining pages of the book are blank.